Competition for Turkey's missile contract heating up
by Ali Ünal
ANKARAOct 13, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Ali Ünal
Oct 13, 2015 12:00 am
Competition between Italian-French Eurosam's SAMP/T Aster 30 system and the state-run China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation (CPMIEC) HQ-9 missile system for Turkey's long-standing long-range air and missile defense system is heating up with updated offers. The contract process is likely to be finalized before the end of this year. In September 2013 Turkey's Undersecretariat for Defense Industries' (SSM) executive committee chose China's FD-2000 long-range air and missile defense system over Western competitors including the Italian-French Eurosam's SAMP/T Aster 30 system and the Russian Rosoboronexport's S300.
Government officials announced they preferred the Chinese offer due to its competitiveness and potential for co-production in Turkey. The Chinese company offered the most competitive price at $3.4 billion and promised high technology transfer, but negotiations have not concluded in the last two years. Moreover, Turkey's decision to buy a Chinese missile system as NATO member country caused criticism due to the lack of compatibility with NATO systems, raising concerns about China's possible ability to infiltrate NATO systems if the contract were finalized.
However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently hinted that the contract is about to be finalized and these questions will be answered soon. Speaking to journalists on his way back from Japan last weekend, Erdoğan said that they are about to conclude the contract process. "The Chinese president will be in Turkey during the G20 summit in November and we will discuss this issue. France, on the other hand, updated their offer. [French] President [François] Hollande sent me a letter regarding this issue via Prime Minister [Ahmet] Davutoğlu when they meet in New York for the U.N. General Assembly.
Turkey's main concerns in this missile bid are joint production and technology transfer," Erdoğan said on Oct. 10.
Even though the details of Holande's letter are not known, it is expected that Eurosam updated its offer to below $4 billion and made concrete promises on joint production and technology transfer. Turkey's final decision on the missile bid is expected to be taken after Erdoğan meets with Hollande and Chinese President Xi Jinping in November during the G20 summit in Antalya.